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Should Sexting be Illegal?

By Liz Perle, Common Sense Media co-founder and Editor-in-Chief

Your child -- a registered sex offender?

I would love to think that 'sexting' was only a theoretical issue in my family
, but with two teens in the phone-zone, I can't make any promises
that one of them hasn't sent off a racy snapshot or two (after all, 22% of teens
say they have...).

But I bet they didn't think they'd have to register as sex offenders if the
police ever got hold of one of their sexts. Right now, sexting is a crime and
kids can be prosecuted for distribution of pornography. And if a person is
convicted of a sex crime, they have to register as a sex offender which will
haunt them for years (talk about your permanent record...).

In Vermont, there is a movement to decriminalize sexting. We agree that kids
shouldn't be prosecuted for essentially doing something really stupid. But we
do believe it's up to parents to educate their teens about this really risky
practice. Kids should know that anything they send can be redistributed in an
instant to anyone and could result in tremendous humiliation and pain.


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